QB Derek Carr says he embraces challenge of new city, team

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Quarterback Derek Carr said Thursday in his first public comments since being benched by Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels that he is ready for the challenge of playing in a new city.

“I once said that if I’m not a Raider I would rather be at home and I meant that, but I never envisioned it ending this way,” Carr posted on Twitter. “That fire burning inside of me to win a championship still rages. A fire no man can extinguish; only God. So I look forward to a new city and a new team who, no matter the circumstance, will get everything I have.”

Carr started 142 games over nine seasons for the Raiders, providing stability to a franchise that had cycled through 17 starting quarterbacks in the 11 years before he arrived as a second-round pick in 2014.

Carr helped lead the Raiders to playoff appearances in 2016 and 2021 and owns multiple team records, including most career yards passing (35,222) and touchdown passes (217). But he also had the third-most starts for one team in the Super Bowl era for a quarterback who never won a playoff game for the team.

Carr struggled in his first year under McDaniels, despite the addition of star receiver and close friend Davante Adams to the offense, and was benched with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Carr had his lowest marks since his rookie season in completion rate (60.6%) and passer rating (86.3), while posting his highest interception rate (2.8%) and his lowest yards per attempt (7.0) since 2017.

That ultimately led to the decision from McDaniels and first-year general manager Dave Ziegler to move on from Carr less than a year after signing him to a three-year extension for $120.5 million.

The deal signed last April gave Carr a $5 million raise in 2022, but provided an out for Las Vegas this offseason. The Raiders have until Feb. 15 to release Carr or his $32.9 million salary for 2023 and $7.5 million of his $41.9 million salary for 2024 will be guaranteed.

The Raiders can try to reach an agreement on a trade for Carr before that deadline but a deal can’t be finalized until the start of the new league year March 15. Any team that acquires Carr would then take on the rest of the contract, which would include the guarantees in 2023-24 and a nonguaranteed $41.2 million salary for 2025.

Carr has a no-trade clause in his deal, giving him control over his destination. That could force the Raiders to simply cut him, absorbing a $5.6 million charge on the 2023 salary cap but saving more than $29 million.

“Derek’s tenure with the Raiders is effectively finished,” Carr’s agent, Tim Younger, posted on Twitter. “Relationships do end, but as is the case here, a treasure of memories and friendships remain, along with a very special bond with his fans. These won’t end.

“Teams constantly search for franchise players who invest themselves completely, as Derek did for nearly a decade, maybe even to a fault. That’s his true legacy here, much more than the numerous team records he holds.”

Carr thanked the fans in Las Vegas and Oakland as well as the organization.

“It’s especially hard to say goodbye because I can honestly say that I gave you (the fans) everything I had, every single day, in season, and in the offseason,” Carr wrote. “It certainly wasn’t perfect, but I hope that I was able to leave you with more than a few great memories as Raider fans.”

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